Dorothy Garrod became a professor in 1939Newnham College

A new building at Newnham College is to be named after Dorothy Garrod – a Newnham alumna and the first woman at either Oxford or Cambridge universities to hold a professorial chair.

The building is one of a series of new facilities at the college, which will include new en-suite accommodation, a new Porters’ Lodge, a café, gym, conference and office facilities and supervision rooms. Building began in September 2016, and is expected to be finished by Autumn 2018.

Dorothy Garrod was a pioneering archaeologist, best known for discovering Gibraltar 2, the skull of a Neanderthal child. She read History at Newnham College from 1913 to 1916, and became a fellow of the college in 1929.

From 1929 to 1934, Garrod excavated at Mount Carmel in what was then Palestine, leading a team of British and American archaeologists. Her team discovered the first evidence of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic cultures in Palestine. While excavating, Garrod, who was born in 1892, also employed and trained local women in archaeological fieldwork.

Garrod was elected to the Disney Chair of Archaeology at Cambridge in 1939, making her the first woman to hold a professorial chair in the University, and before any woman was appointed as a professor at Oxford. In honour of her appointment, Newnham held a feast in her honour in which all dishes were named after archaeological items.


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However, during her initial years in the role, the power Garrod was able to exercise was limited. A ban on women becoming full University members meant that she was unable to vote on University matters, until the ban was lifted in 1948. She passed away in 1968.

According to an article on Newnham College’s website, Principal of Newnham College Professor Dame Carol Black said “We are delighted to announce that Newnham College’s new building will be named after Professor Dorothy Garrod. A Newnham student and Fellow, her election to the Disney Chair in Archaeology was remarkable. We hope this building, named in her honour, will be a reminder of her pioneering work and an inspiration for future generations”.